Cahokia: Ancient America's Great City on the Mississippi by Timothy R. Pauketat

By Timothy R. Pauketat

The attention-grabbing tale of a misplaced urban and an remarkable American civilization

whereas Mayan and Aztec civilizations are well known and documented, rather few individuals are acquainted with the most important prehistoric local American urban north of Mexico-a website that professional Timothy Pauketat brings vividly to lifestyles during this groundbreaking e-book. nearly 1000 years in the past, a urban flourished alongside the Mississippi River close to what's now St. Louis. outfitted round a sprawling critical plaza and often called Cahokia, the location has drawn the eye of generations of archaeologists, whose paintings produced facts of advanced celestial timepieces, feasts sufficiently big to feed hundreds of thousands, and worrying indicators of human sacrifice. Drawing on those attention-grabbing unearths, Cahokia offers a full of life and staggering narrative of prehistoric the US.

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Additional resources for Cahokia: Ancient America's Great City on the Mississippi (Penguin Library of American Indian History)

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In the middle of each courtyard was a single vertical post some four to eight inches in diameter—a marker of group identity, perhaps even a representation of an important ancestor. Centuries later, an English colonist on the East Coast depicted horticultural villagers—often called “Woodland Indians” by anthropologists—dancing around a circle of upright posts, each carved with a human face. Similarly, as recorded by anthropologists, Plains Indians revered certain posts or circles of posts as symbols of the ancestors, representations of the Milky Way, and access points to the sun, the stars, and the gods.

Few would have missed the supernova of 1054. For ancient peoples known to watch the skies carefully, a brand-new star that shone, initially, day and night was likely viewed with some combination of wonderment, confusion, and horror. What might the star portend? Whatever it might have meant to the native peoples, a New Mexican Mimbres valley potter commemorated the celestial event by painting a pot with a star at the foot of a crescent-shaped rabbit, a representation of the rabbit many indigenous North Americans believed resided in the moon.

However, after 800, lower midwestern and midsouthern peoples were taking the initial steps toward intensifying agricultural production. Villages of people doing the more intense food production along the Mississippi or its tributaries sometimes were centered on a small mound or two, platforms or burial mounds. Of these, the best-known and biggest was a place along the Arkansas River near present-day Little Rock, named Toltec Mounds by American travelers. The Toltec site is an impressive place to visit, with two of its eighteen four-sided earthen stage-mounds, or pyramids, reaching heights of forty to fifty feet.

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